A bit of chim chim cher-ee
The chimney sweep came round on Saturday. I mention this, not because as an event it particularly stands out, but I was most disappointed to discover he wasn’t accompanied by dozens of others all dancing on the roof.
Now I may be a little obsessed with the idea that Dick Van Dyke might still feel up to leaping around from roof to roof “Schtepping in time”... but it’s hard to entertain the idea of soot encrusted men tearing through the place without remembering that marvellous scene from Mary Poppins.
I thought chimney sweeps had long been consigned to history along with other vital men about the house including most milkmen and the knocker upper - but they are alive and well, and in the early 21st century, seemingly clad in a pink polo shirt and sporting his own set of rods.
I watched with interest as he set about the log burner. Mrs M has decreed I won’t be coming home to a real fire until this annual task is completed, and so the drama begins.
My mind is instantly cast back to Mr Banks in the film, who you remember arrives home from work to find the house covered in soot with dozens of men dancing through the hallway. To my knowledge, thus far, this hasn’t happened at our house, though I can never be sure what goes on while I’m out reading news bulletins.
I was there when the chimney was reconstructed and so I know it’s a lot narrower than it was in 1836 (13 inches by 13 inches says the sweep and he should know), and so it’s going to take a lot of shoving.
2019’s chimney sweeps come complete with an electric drill. I’m intrigued. He shoves a rod up with the brush attached and then attaches the drill to make it turn as it makes its way to the top.
The fun of dashing out into the street to see the brush come flying out of the top is still there even if the neighbours seemed bemused by my enthusiasm in the rain.
I checked while I was out there and sadly there wasn’t an army of men in flat caps on the roof, singing in atrocious cockney accents.
Gawd bless you .